Dottie Peoples: I see the Handwriting on the Wall
So, today we look at Daniel’s faith and I am going to the passage about the handwriting on the wall. Listen, if you ever think God needs us, He doesn’t, He chooses to use us.
By Faith Daniel, let’s talk about Daniel.
My theme and challenge: Be Like Daniel: Daniel served the Lord all his days, he was bold and he was ready to give an answer.
Let’s read Daniel 5:1-31: Tonya reads:
King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2 While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3 So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4 As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5 Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6 His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.
7 The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck,and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
8 Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9 So King Belshazzar became even more terrifiedand his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
10 The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar,was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”
13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it.16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25 “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Be like Daniel: my sermon revolves around the applications.
- First, Daniel is bold. We must be bold in what God calls us to do.
- Daniel calls out a king and the nobles in sin. Did you notice that? Think about it. There are 1000 nobles and their wives and concubines in this massive thrown room and Daniel is called in and he reads the writing on the wall. But even before that in verses 22-24 Daniel tells the king he is arrogant and he will have to learn a lesson in humility. In verses 17-21 Daniel talks about how Nebuchadnezzar had pride but God brought him down and that is in chapter 4. Then in Daniel 5:22-24:
“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
- That took guts. Does Daniel realize who he is talking to?
- Does Daniel realize that he is out numbered?
- It doesn’t matter because— Our God is so big, so strong and so might there is nothing that our God can’t do. The mountains are big, the valleys are big, the stars are his handiwork too. Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that our God can’t do.
- Daniel was bold because he knew that he served a big God, a strong God. In chapter 3:19-25 his friends are saved from a fiery furnace. In the previous chapter he watched God bring down the great Nebuchadnezzar. In the next chapter he will be delivered from the Lion’s Den. In chapters 8-10 he has visions from Gabriel. Yes, there were 1000 nobles and a king in front of him, but he knew that He served the true king.
- We must be bold regardless of where we are or who we are talking to as well. We also serve the True King. We serve a strong God and we don’t need to fear. Remember God’s message to the Apostle Paul: Acts 18:9-10: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
- There is a movie with Michael Douglas called, An American President. In the movie there is a lobbyist who was prepared to go into a meeting with the President and tell him exactly what should happen. However, she entered the Oval Office and entered another room at the White House and she is in a meeting and she cannot say it. She says, “I am a little intimidated by my surroundings.”
- Look we have no reason to be intimidated by our surroundings. We have Jesus with us.
- Daniel was not intimidated. But he was ready. He was ready to give an answer.
- Also, Daniel is old. We must serve God all our days.
- Daniel was likely 80 years old and retired or forgotten, yet he was available and called out sin.
- We must live a life after Jesus and finish well. We must not give up.
- It seems obvious that Daniel could have known that Babylon was under attack, yet he still came and ministered. He could have known that Babylon suffered a crushing defeat north of their city. He could have thought this was too dangerous, he could have thought he was too old, yet he still came to minister.
- Daniel might have known that he was going to be ministering with people in deep sin. He could have known that they were participating in drunkenness and maybe, likely, sexual acts. It sounds like what was going on was actually a drunken orgy, but Daniel went right in and ministered. He could have said that he was too old for this. He did not. He ministered.
- Daniel was ready to give an answer. We must be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
- Daniel knew the language of Aramaic.
- Daniel had served the Lord and was in a position where God could use him.
- Are we ready to be used of God?
- Notice how this passage, 1 Peter 3:15, begins with: “Revere Christ as Lord.” Some translations say, “Set apart Christ as Lord…”
- Are we doing this? Are we pursuing God? Are we setting Him apart as Lord?
- Is Jesus Lord of our lives?
- How else are we to be ready?
- We must study the Word.
- We must study culture.
- 1 Chron 12:32: men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…
- We must study apologetics.
- We must be ready.
There were a number of prophesies about all of this:
See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
who do not care for silver
and have no delight in gold.
“Take up your positions around Babylon,
all you who draw the bow.
Shoot at her! Spare no arrows,
for she has sinned against the Lord.
One courier follows another
and messenger follows messenger
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his entire city is captured,
32 the river crossings seized,
the marshes set on fire,
and the soldiers terrified.”
Let me tell what happened to Babylon:
Having lost a brief skirmish outside the walls of Babylon, Belshazzar had retreated to the city and made light of the coming Persian siege. The Babylonians had 20 years of provisions, and the city was a seemingly impregnable fortress. Nevertheless, Darius diverted the waters of the Euphrates and entered below the water gates. He took the city that same night without a battle and killed Belshazzar. Xenophon noted that the city fell while the Babylonians were in the midst of a drunken feast. The kingdom of Babylon fell just as foretold by Daniel in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue (2:39). The head of gold (Babylon) had fallen and was replaced by the chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persia) (2:40).
(2014-03-15). The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 53845-53848). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Daniel, he was ready. He was ready and available to be used of God and look how God used him. You know that I still hear the phrase about the handwriting on the wall? I still hear people saying, “they saw the writing on the wall.” That came from Daniel.
I believe that God wants to use you. I believe that God wants to use me. I believe that God wants to use us. We all have people who need the Lord. We can be like Daniel.
In your bulletin there is a piece of paper. I am going to give you a minute to fill this in. Please take it out and answer the questions:
Who have your family, friends and acquaintances needs Jesus?
How can you witness to them?
Do you need to be more intentional?
Pray for them…
Please take that home and stick somewhere in order to remind you to pray for these people. Pray that God gives you opportunities to witness. You never know: God may give you handwriting on a wall. Maybe you need to take advantage of what God gives you. Maybe you need to write some letters talking about your faith. Maybe you need to take them out to lunch and talk.
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)